Someone Could Get Hurt
A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood
A sharp, funny, and heartfelt memoir about fatherhood and the ups and downs of raising a family in modern America
No one writes about family quite like Drew Magary. The GQ correspondent and Deadspin columnist’s stories about trying to raise a family have attracted millions of readers online. And now he’s finally bringing that unique voice to a memoir. In Someone Could Get Hurt, he reflects on his own parenting experiences to explore the anxiety, rationalizations, compromises, and overpowering love that come with raising children in contemporary America.
In brutally honest and funny stories, Magary reveals how American mothers and fathers cope with being in over their heads (getting drunk while trick-or-treating, watching helplessly as a child defiantly pees in a hotel pool, engaging in role-play with a princess-crazed daughter), and how stepping back can sometimes make all the difference (talking a toddler down from the third story of a netted-in playhouse, allowing children to make little mistakes in the kitchen to keep them from making the bigger ones in life). It’s a celebration of all the surprises—joyful and otherwise—that come with being part of a real family.
In the wake of recent bestsellers that expose how every other culture raises their children better, Someone Could Get Hurt offers a hilarious and heartfelt defense of American child rearing with a glimpse into the genuine love and compassion that accompany the missteps and flawed logic. It’s the story of head lice, almost-dirty words, and flat head syndrome, and a man trying to commit the ultimate act of selflessness in a selfish world.
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The monitor was about to go off. It hadn’t erupted just yet, but as I lay in bed I knew it was only a matter of time. You can tell when a baby monitor is about to blow up because the baby makes a series of pre-cry sounds that clue you in. Little hacks and scratches and cries—
Oooooehhhhh,durrrrrr,ewwooohhhh. Through the static of the monitor, it sounds like a mouse caught in a glue trap.
I didn’t move a muscle. My strategy was twofold. For one thing, I thought to myself: If I just stay still, then the baby will forget I exist and realize she has no one to cry to, and then she will stop crying (NOTE: Babies do not fall for this). For another, I thought if I lay still long enough, my wife would get up and go feed the baby instead of me. I was awake, but I didn’t want to be awake any longer. So I played dead. I tried to ignore the monitor and began thinking of purple unicorns and flying ninjas and any other random shit that would lead me to a dreamful slumber. Then I heard another oooooehhhhh and my brain zeroed right back in on the monitor. The child is waking. The child is hungry. My wife was lying next to me in bed. She was perfectly still, an expert in not giving herself away.
Our first kid was now two months old. Before she was born, we prepared a bassinet for her. It was the same bassinet my mother‑in‑law had used for my wife when she was a baby and their family lived in Munich. My wife labored over successive weekends to restore it, sanding it down and repainting it clean white. The main basket had come loose from its wheeled base, so I lovingly repaired it, drilling new holes and driving in shiny new screws to make the bassinet secure, so that the girl could sleep peacefully next to our bed for as long as she liked. It was beautiful. I imagined night after night of her sleeping next to us, one little happy family tucked inside the little master bedroom of our little home.
The first night we put her in it, she screamed bloody murder for hours. Turned out she loathed it. We threw her in a crib in the nursery next door a few days later, and the bassinet became worthless. Babies don’t give a shit how hard you worked on something. They’re the harshest critics on earth.
We made a rule that we would take turns every night feeding her. Someone got the first feeding. Then, once the baby was back asleep, that person went to sleep and the other person handled the child the next time she woke up. That was a fair way of going about things. But on this particular night, we had forgotten to agree on who was gonna get the first feeding. We both knew that whoever got the first feeding was boned because the parent working the first shift had to wake up around midnight, the time of night when deep sleep takes root. And then, that same parent might have to get up again for a third shift, around 4:00 or 5:00 a. m. I didn’t want the first shift. My wife didn’t want the first shift. Someone was gonna lose.
Reprinted from Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2013.
Praise for Someone Could Get Hurt—Justin Halpern, author of the New York Times bestseller Sh*t My Dad Says
“It’s an honest and hilarious portrayal of how aggravating it can be to raise a family.”
“The world needs Drew Magary’s wonderfully funny, breathtakingly honest book about parenting.”
—Jen Doll, memoirist and senior writer at The Atlantic Wire
“The Father's Day book for dads who hate getting books for Father’s Day.”
—Will Leitch, author of Are We Winning? and God Save the Fan
“If you are a parent, I challenge you to not simultaneously laugh and sob through this entire book.”
—Rachel Dratch, comedian and author of Girl Walks into a Bar...
Disclaimer: Please be advised that this Q&A contains adult content.
You say in your book that no group of parents are under more pressure to succeed than American parents today. Why is that?
What I said is that no generation of parents has ever been subjected to more widespread derision than this group of parents. Part of it is that we all overshare now. People talk about their kids all the time on Facebook and shit, which leaves them more exposed to criticism. And we just happen to live in a more critical age. I like criticizing movies and TV and outfits and hairstyles and your fucking kid being a dickhead at the playground. I'm not alone in that regard. We're a more vocal, critical society now, and that means you hear a lot of bullshit from a lot of people.
Are we doing a good job raising our kids?
I think we're doing a better job than we get credit for. It's easy to take the few public instances of shitty, awful parenting and apply it to the entire American parenting population. But there ARE good parents out there. There are working moms busting their asses to provide for their kids and spend quality time with them. There are men who do the stay-at-home parenting. Parents are a whole lot more vigilant about education, mental health, and open communication than they were a few decades ago. All of that is good. We can't let Dina Lohan ruin it all for is.
Why do you swear so much?
Because fuck it.
Why write this book after writing a novel that did fairly well? What prompted this?
I had a very serious situation with my third kid that's described in detail in the book. I had another novel started, but when my son went through that ordeal, I pretty much dropped the novel because I had to write about this other thing. And frankly, I think people had been looking for a dad thing from me for a while now. I was overdue. Plus you gotta write the whole novel before you sell it, which is awful.
Why are you so handsome?
Pure talent, my friend. Pure talent and the will to be sexy.
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